Last season, we saw Dominic Smith test the outfield waters, as the Mets wanted to see if he could be of versatile use in the future. While he had a couple hiccups, which were expected, he still managed to be a decent defender out there.
Fast forward one year and Smith has been in the spotlight for his bat in timely situations with the Mets. He is hitting .344/.462/.500 as strictly a left-handed bat off the bench, and in his first game back with the Mets on Tuesday night after briefly being sent down to Triple-A, he had a pinch-hit homer. It was his first of the season.
Smith has proven his bat can be consistent for the Mets, which begs the question why he isn't featured in the lineup more to start this season. Obviously, Pete Alonso has solidified himself as the team's starting first baseman as a rookie.
So what about the outfield?
According to Newsday's David Lennon, Smith has been asking the Mets to use him in the outfield, but they only view him as a first baseman at the moment.
Manager Mickey Callaway was asked the outfield question during his pregame presser down in Washington, and while he joked around saying he needs to find a spot for Smith if he continues to hit bombs, he also downplayed the idea. The Mets have three left-handed bats in the outfield in Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Jeff McNeil, which is what he used to justify Smith staying on at first.
He did, however, didn't rule out Smith making a return to the pitch.
But here's the problem with that answer: McNeil is a super utlity man for a reason. And with Smith proving his success at the plate deserves more at-bats, why not move McNeil back to the infield on certain occasions?
There is a simple solution to this. When there is a right-handed pitcher on the mound, Smith can play left field while McNeil shifts to third base with that position still in limbo. Todd Frazier continues to struggle at the plate, and Jed Lowrie has been set back with a hamstring strain.
What about J.D. Davis you ask? Well, he can play third when a lefty is on the mound with McNeil going back to left. He is crushing lefties this season, with a .872 OPS entering tonight's contest against Patrick Corbin, who he hit an RBI double off of in his first at-bat.
The Mets could easily institute this plan, but it doesn't appear they're willing to do so at the moment. But, if they change their minds, this could be a great way to see what Smith can really do when he gets consistent work at the dish.
And if the Mets' intentions are to trade him, showcasing his versatiltity in the outfield is just another selling point.